Food colors, or color additives, are substances imparting color to commercial food and drinks and to a variety of non-food applications such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, home craft projects and medical devices. Of natural or artificial origin, their safety has been long discussed and concerns about consumer health led to testing for safety and to certification. From 1973 interferences with activity in children is generally accepted and warnings are now present on products labels. Much less attention however has been dedicated to the possible effects of these additives on natural flora and fauna and, in particular, on the aquatic ones. In our work we have tested the toxicity of 4 different commercially available food colors: one natural, cochineal red E120 and three of synthesis: Ponceau red E124, tartrazine yellow E102 and patent blue E131. Concentrations were the same suggested in labels for preparing food (650 mg/500 ml milk or cream). Toxicity was tested on Cucumis sativus (Cucurbitales), Artemia salina (Crustacea Anostraca) and Danio rerio (Actinopterygii Cyprinidae) development. Results have demonstrated that the four food colors significantly interfere with Cucumis germination and rootlets formation and that they moderately alter toracopods development in Artemia. In Danio rerio, embryos show significant alterations with pericardial oedema, hypopigmentation and anomalous development of tail and body axis. Results, though preliminary, suggest that food colors are potentially toxic to the flora and aquatic fauna and that attention should be devoted to this so far ignored consequence of our habit of artificially coloring the world around us.

THE DARK SIDE OF FOOD COLORS

Chiara Maria Motta
;
Carmen Arena;Ermenegilda Vitale;Teresa Capriello;Claudio Agnisola;Ida Ferrandino
2018

Abstract

Food colors, or color additives, are substances imparting color to commercial food and drinks and to a variety of non-food applications such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, home craft projects and medical devices. Of natural or artificial origin, their safety has been long discussed and concerns about consumer health led to testing for safety and to certification. From 1973 interferences with activity in children is generally accepted and warnings are now present on products labels. Much less attention however has been dedicated to the possible effects of these additives on natural flora and fauna and, in particular, on the aquatic ones. In our work we have tested the toxicity of 4 different commercially available food colors: one natural, cochineal red E120 and three of synthesis: Ponceau red E124, tartrazine yellow E102 and patent blue E131. Concentrations were the same suggested in labels for preparing food (650 mg/500 ml milk or cream). Toxicity was tested on Cucumis sativus (Cucurbitales), Artemia salina (Crustacea Anostraca) and Danio rerio (Actinopterygii Cyprinidae) development. Results have demonstrated that the four food colors significantly interfere with Cucumis germination and rootlets formation and that they moderately alter toracopods development in Artemia. In Danio rerio, embryos show significant alterations with pericardial oedema, hypopigmentation and anomalous development of tail and body axis. Results, though preliminary, suggest that food colors are potentially toxic to the flora and aquatic fauna and that attention should be devoted to this so far ignored consequence of our habit of artificially coloring the world around us.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/733291
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact